Albums by Lady Gaga, Paolo Nutini, Lily Allen and Robbie Williams helped pop claim its biggest share of U.K album sales last year since 2003.

The figures from labels trade body the BPI showed that the genre accounted for 29% of album sales in 2009, up from a 25.3% share in 2008.

The BPI's forthcoming Statistical Handbook 2010 will show that four of the top 10 artist best sellers were pop, as were four of the top five compilation albums, including the biggest seller "Now 74" (EMI/UMTV).

Pop triumphed despite the rock genre's dominance of the release schedule: 40.2% of all new album releases in 2009 were rock, followed by 13.7% for pop, 10.1% for dance and 8.6% for urban.

Rock's share of albums sold fell from 35.7% to 31.0% year-on-year, the lowest proportion since 2004. Kings of Leon's "Only By The Night" (Hand Me Down/Sony) was the genre's only release to sell more than 1 million copies during 2009.

R&B accounted for 9.6% of album sales, down from 10.5% in 2008. JLS and Beyonce were among the big R&B sellers. Dance music's share decreased slightly from 7.9% to 7.3% in 2009.

"There's no doubting that 2009 was a vintage year for pop - some fantastic records led to a strong performance by the genre in both albums and singles," said BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor in a statement. "British Urban talent shone in the R&B sector, virtually doubling their sales last year thanks to Tinchy Stryder, Dizzee Rascal, Chipmunk, N-Dubz and Taio Cruz. This strong performance looks like carrying into 2010 with hits from Taio again, Tinie Tempah, Plan B and Professor Green, amongst others."

Pop reclaimed the greatest share of all singles sales in 2009, five years after it was last the dominant genre in the market. Lady Gaga, Cheryl Cole and La Roux helped pop take a share above 33%, overtaking rock singles as the most popular genre.